Spring ’98 Notes

Hearing “Hold Me Jesus” opened a memory floodgate. On September 19, 1997, I lost a mentor, philospher, inspirator, and friend, though I never met him. Richard Wayne Mullins met his Father and left us behind, but thank God he left a legacy of music. When I heard about his death, I don’t think I fully appreciated the news, for I was undergoing a crisis of my own at that time. Now, six months later, the thought of never hearing a new song from him again leaves a void in my aching heart.

Thoughts from the Other Side of the Jordan

By the banks of Jordan I gaze
wondering, part to myself, part
out loud peering through the thick haze
out of sight, but I know you are there

I wish I knew, how does it feel?
You wanted to go out like Elijah
and you did, but my heart must heal
I know there, you praise Jehovah

Did they dress you like a pauper?
Did they dine you like a prince?
Are you lying with your fathers?
Doesn’t matter to you, I guess.

I’ll bet you’re hearing music now
some kind of music it must be
All I hear is silence, shadow
sudden stillness, by the Jordan.

So then, it was your time to roll
and while we’re still here we praise God
as he reached down, and embraced your soul
We weep, still selfing from our loss

Your pen may not move here again
But there I’m sure, the choir sings
all learning a new song written
about joy when you beheld the face of God

So I sit here by the Jordan
alone I might sob, but no tears
fall, for I know the end of Man
will come, and we’ll sing together

-Jeff Holland 3/22/98

I almost feel arrogant, writing a poem based on one of Rich’s songs. The song, “Elijah” speaks volumes about Rich’s heart and simply pales my attempts to convey my grief. Thank you, Rich. I hope one day to tell you what you meant to me on the other side of the Jordan.

“It’s me again, God. Thank you for the past three months and the glorious existence you’ve given me. Prepare me for the winds of change which are beginning to blow through my life again and grant me wisdom to choose wisely each step that lay before me. Let it be so.”

My best friend got married today. How about that? I watched with bittersweet joy as he pledged his eternal love to a woman he plans to spend his entire life with. Does it really work that way? Spend your entire life with someone? The whole idea simply places me in awe. I suppose someday, I’ll be in that place, pledging my undying love to someone (sakes, who on earth could it be?), but right now it’s beyond my comprehension. I’ll miss my friend, but he’s not going very far, but he has far more on his mind now. What an exciting time to be alive.

So much has changed since December. I look back on the past as it speeds away from me. Seems to me that I have grown in so many ways, and yet I don’t dare think I’ve made it there yet. The darker days that seemed so near at Christmas are quickly becoming a history and I look back into the days of this winter and they were good.

So many friends appear out of nowhere in the oddest of places. I am amazed at how God moves people into our lives for a time and when their purpose is done, moves them out. Each one has their own special qualities and memories that they have given me and I thank God everyday for the people placed in my life right now. Delay the day that they leave Lord! I want to enjoy their presence a little longer.

I think I’m becoming an existentialist. I said I’d never become a philosopher, because I hate thinking about things that _aren’t there,_ but here I am. So much of what I’ve learned since The Darkest Night of the Year is to just enjoy _being._ The past life can’t be changed for it’s already happend. The future life also can’t be controlled for who says I’ll take another breath in this life. What’s left is the now, enjoy every second of it. Live every moment of it. Now that I prevent the past’s haunts and future’s enticements from delaying me, I see so much more of what goes on around me and how active and vibrant everything is. Why _not_ live today and enjoy it to the fullest? No future day will ever be like it. I think the the existential theme of taking current conditions and learning how to handle them is becoming a prevading theme in the newest work I’m writing, a humorous story based on Rip Van Winkle using fraternity brothers as characters (but I wouldn’t want to tip my hand too much, would I?)

So on this equinox, the day that marks the beginning of a new season, I regretfully release a beautiful past (goodbye cold nights and hot chocolate! Goodbye care-free co-ops!) and look ahead to an uncertain, but no doubt exciting future (greetings volleyball, warm evenings on the porch, new friends, and someone else, maybe?)

Here’s hoping we meet again on the Brightest Day of the Year

Il Est Dans Mon Poche

Here is my fortune
here is my fame
here is my future
it’s in my pocket

and if my fortune
weren’t only lint and small change
wishing in one hand
bird in the other
see which one will take me farthst from here

here is my hopelessness
though Im not helpless
I need a window
that I can climb through

just one small opening
a little lantern to light my way
discovering my hands
catch at the altar
I fall on my face as the words hit my ear

here is my fortune
here is my fame
here is my future
it’s in my pocket
il est dans mon poche

“Il Est Dans Mon Poche” written by Karin Berquist (c) 1992 Scampering Songs Publishing